Reflection of the Week - 14th February 2023

By Henri Nouwen

Posted in Faith

As we contemplate the Beatitudes in Matthew’s gospel this month, the wisdom of Henri Nouwen can help us understand the compassion of Jesus. Compassion asks us to go where it hurts, to enter into the places of pain, to share in brokenness, fear, confusion, and anguish.

Compassion challenges us to cry out with those in misery, to mourn with those who are lonely, to weep with those in tears. Compassion requires us to be weak with the weak, vulnerable with the vulnerable, and powerless with the powerless. Compassion means full immersion in the condition of being human.

‘The world is evil only when you become its slave.’
Henri J.M. Nouwen, Life of the Beloved: Spiritual Living in a Secular World

‘When we say to people, “I will pray for you,” we make a very important commitment. The sad thing is that this remark often remains nothing but a well-meant expression of concern.

But when we learn to descend with our mind into our heart, then all those who have become part of our lives are led into the healing presence of God and touched by him in the centre of our being.

We are speaking here about a mystery for which words are inadequate. It is the mystery that the heart, which is the centre of our being, is transformed by God into his own heart, a heart large enough to embrace the entire universe. Through prayer we can carry in our heart all human pain and sorrow, all conflicts and agonies, all torture and war, all hunger, loneliness, and misery, not because of some great psychological or emotional capacity, but because God's heart has become one with ours.’

Henri J.M. Nouwen, The Way of the Heart: The Spirituality of the Desert Fathers and Mothers

Source: Stillpoint newsletter 9th February 2023.

 


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